traditional methods of teaching reading and
writing fail to help most dyslexics learn to
read and write
rule, dyslexics tend to be highly logical.
They also tend to believe what they are taught.
When dyslexics apply logically what they have
been taught and when it doesn't work, they
become frustrated. Normal people just
don't worry about being logical. Normal
people don't worry when the rules don't work.
They just read.
's go through just a few of the traditional
concepts that almost all reading experts will
1. We read from left to right.
2. We should teach the alphabet before we
teach reading and spelling.
3. Whatever phonics is necessary to be
taught should be taught in the first two
grades. After that, phonics need not
be taught. Children learn to read in
the first two grades and then read to learn
after that time.
Left to right? What's that? (/hwuts/)
Our language has many sound reversals.
When we say /hw/ we spell it wh. If you
don't believe us, just check your dictionary and
look at the wh- words. With the exception
of words like whole and who in which there is
just the /h/ sound to start the word, all the
words are /hw/.
another interesting fact about the word little.
Note: The first two letters and the last
two letters of that sentence are
LE. If our
language were to consistently go left to right
then they should be pronounced the same.
But obviously, they're not. Normal people
don't worry about such little things as le being
pronounced as /ul/ as in nickel
but spelled LE as
Let's demonstrate that letters to the right of
other letters often determine how they are
pronounced. Concentrate on the sound the
second letter (e). Say: de, dem, demo, demon,
demonstration, demonstrative. Ouch!
about the letter c? In cat it's hard like
a /k/. In city it's soft as an /s/.
Okay, let's play with MA, MAG, MAGI (pronounced
Madge eye), MAGIC, MAGICIAN.
this mean that we should not teach phonics?
No. It only means we should teach phonics
properly. The patterns are consistent but
not the single letter correspondences.
Notice all one syllable words ending with the
letter a rhyme. Da, fa, la, ma, pa, and spa. All one
syllable words ending in -ag will rhyme, e.g.,
bag, rag, brag, drag, lag, flag, etc.
Polysyllabic words ending with the /ik/ sound
will not use the ending k. Polysyllabic /ik/
words end ic while single syllable /ik/ words
are ick words. Pick Nick to run the
picnic. Polysyllabic words ending -an are
pronounced "un" and usually indicate a human, as
in American, Canadian, Christian, Indian, and fireman.
The ician words always rhyme with "ish un" and
mean the human that makes the first part as in a
musician makes music, and electrician makes
things electrical, and a magician makes magic.
Good readers and good spellers somehow learn to
apply these concepts without really knowing
them. They are tuned into the language and
not turned off by rules that don't apply.
Dyslexics need to learn the patterns--not rules.
For a listing of the phonic patterns that are
not taught in any school's curriculum check
PHONIC PATTERNS NOT TAUGHT.
We should teach the alphabet before we teach
reading and spelling. That's traditional.
And it works for a lot of children. But
for dyslexics, that's the beginning of their
problems. If all we had to do was to learn
26 letters, that wouldn't be much of a problem.
But, as I learned when teaching one adult
dyslexic who had no problem reading the word BAR
but couldn't read bar
or bar or Bar or
the letter a takes many shapes as do all the
letters of our alphabet. If a person is
taught to read a word using just one set of
letters, it doesn't mean he can read the word
when written in another set. The young
adult dyslexic in question knew the word BAR
because he loved to imbibe. What AVKO has
discovered is that dyslexic children can learn
to read and spell AS they learn the alphabet,
not AFTER. The exact sequence of teaching
the letters and the words and sounds that the
letters make can be found in both
Let's Write Right
and The Teaching of
Reading (and Spelling): a Continuum from
Kindergarten through College.
Whatever phonics is necessary to be taught
"...should be completed by the end of the second
grade for most children." You can find
this stated on p. 118 in Becoming a Nation of
Readers: The Report of the Commission on Reading.
Whether or not phonics is taught or how phonics
is taught is the first two grades, there is no
way for a logical person to make the leaps from
the simple patterns of the story telling
language used in these grades to the
sophisticated patterns found in the curriculum
from the fourth grade on up through college.
example, how can we expect a logical person (a
dyslexic) who can read the word fish be expected
to read the letters fici as "fish" in the words
The experts on reading just "know" that context
is enough! The dyslexic who is logical
knows that the letters ish are in fish, dish,
and wish. But where is the ish in Commission?
Miss rhymes with kiss. An ion rhymes with
"eye on." We have had dyslexics attempt to
read the word commission
as "Calm Miss eye on. Yet, the only way
the sound "mish" is spelled in words of more
than one syllable is missi
as in mission, permission,
etc. (Okay, in Michigan, the "mish" sound
is spelled MICH, but that's the only exception I
conclusion, traditional methods are doomed to
fail the dyslexic child when they insist that:
2. We should teach
the alphabet before we teach reading and
No. Dyslexics will learn better if
they learn to read and spell AS not after
they learn the alphabet in a very slow
systematic multi-sensory manner.
3. Whatever phonics
is necessary to be taught should be taught
in the first two grades. After that, phonics
need not be taught. Children learn to
read in the first two grades and then read
to learn after that time.
WRONG. Learning to read is a
continuum. The phonics taught or
caught in the first two grades is
insufficient to allow a dyslexic
in the third grade to read the word insufficient.
Indeed, it is a rare third grade child who
can read the words
insufficiencies, cuisine, or
As we have achieved our
goals, we are and have been looking for a viable
501(C)3 nonprofit organization to ensure that
the concepts and materials we have developed
will not be lost to posterity.
We are also looking for a
publisher who is interested in making a lot of
money and in the process helping millions of
children learn to read.
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